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Miss Jessie’s Co‐Founder and Curly Haircare Pioneer Titi Branch Passes Away at 45

Avatar • Dec 15, 2014

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While more details are still forthcoming, news broke late Sunday evening on social media that Titi Branch, co‐founder of the famed curly haircare brand Miss Jessie’s had passed away. Born on June 10th, 1969, Titi Cree Branch died on December 4th, 2014 in what online media publication NV Magazine is calling an apparent suicide due to asphyxia.

Update: On Sunday, December 21st, 2014, Miko Branch released the following statement on the Miss Jessie’s Facebook and Instagram pages:

Dearest Friends,

My beloved sister, Titi Cree Branch passed away on December 4, 2014.

A private memorial service in her honor was held on December 14, 2014. Titi is now at peace.

My family and I want to thank you for your love and overwhelming
support, delivered in kind words, warm notes, lovely flowers and, of
course, in heartfelt prayer. We have received them all with gratitude
and appreciation. During this difficult time, please know that your
support provides much ease to our bereavement.

Our family and close friends are actively trying to discover and comprehend the events leading up to Titi’s death but we are hopeful that all things will come to the light.

Your love has given me the strength that I need to continue to move forward in tribute to Titi.

Titi had a special combination of personality traits, such as genuine
kindness, attentiveness, and a willingness to share her love without
caution.

I wished she would have stayed longer. Titi has gone home and it gives me comfort to know that she has reunited with our beloved grandmother, Jessie Mae Branch.

My sister touched many lives in a deeply meaningful way, and many of you have generously asked if there are additional ways in which you can be of assistance. It would be of great reassurance to me if you will help me to keep Titi’s name and legacy alive, and to spread the good word about what a great woman she was ~ a wonderful person of invention and innovation.

I’ve found happiness in putting together a short video that features
Titi as the big sister that I will always love and remember. I hope
you enjoy it too.

God Bless.

Love,

Miko
The Branch and Matsumoto Family
The Miss Jessie’s Family

Various friends and acquaintances of the Branch sisters have expressed their sentiments about Titi’s passing on social media, including one friend who shared via Facebook, “It is a tragic moment in time. The family got together today and we celebrated Titi. The love was intense.” A video tribute titled My Titi by Andre Robert Lee set against the backdrop of Frankie Beverly and Maze’s Before I Let Go can be viewed below, and closes with a final look at Branch’s obituary. Titi’s sister Miko sent out a tweet yesterday, “Titi <3” to her followers as well.

My Titi from Andre Robert Lee on Vimeo.

 

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Titi Branch began her career in natural hair care in 1997, when she opened Curve Salon in Brooklyn, New York with her sister Miko. It was at this salon that Titi played an integral role in shaping the natural hair landscape for years to come. Titi developed, named, and popularized the “shingling” method — a method many naturals (including myself) utilize to thoroughly distribute product and define curls. Although she wielded a degree in Consumer Economics from University of Maryland, Titi became the driving force behind Miss Jessie’s transformation into a natural household name with her creativity and kitchen experimentation. In 2004, she developed Curly Pudding, the first Miss Jessie’s product to be sold in their salon (which in 2005 was re‐named for their family matriarch, Miss Jessie). Other formulations and product soon followed, including Curly Meringue, Curly Buttercreme, and Baby Buttercreme.

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What started out with two sisters, a salon, and a jar of pudding, has blossomed into a comprehensive curl care line of over a dozen products — including my personal favorite, Pillow Soft Curls. With Titi’s contributions, Miss Jessie’s products grew beyond the salon, and fill the shelves of Target stores, CVS, Ricky’s, Duane Reade, Walgreens, Walmart, and other beauty retailers.

Due to the details surrounding Titi Branch’s death being unconfirmed, we at Black Girl Long Hair will not speculate on the cause or circumstances that lead to her passing. We do, however, send an outpouring of love, support, prayers, and positive vibes to Miko and the rest of the Branch family as they mourn the loss of their beloved.

Titi was a pioneer and trailblazer in her on right, and her contributions to the natural hair industry will not soon be forgotten. Rest in power, peace, and love, Titi.

Because this is a sensitive subject matter and there are friends, family, and fans openly grieving the loss of Titi Branch, we ask that readers refrain from negative, controversial, or inflammatory comments.

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About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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Mahogany
Guest
Mahogany

That is so sad. My condolences to the Branch family. Miss Jessie’s products along with Carol ‘daughter product were some of the first commercial hair products targeted for natural women. When I atated my journey that’s all that was available at the time.

May she rest in peace.

Black & Olive
Guest

Wow wow wow. Her products changed my life! RIP Titi

curly jt
Guest
curly jt

Wow is all I can say. I would not have the healthy head of hair that I have were it not for their products and online tutorials. RIP Titi.

Michellette
Guest

Very sad, I went natural in 2005 and Miss Jessie’s curling pudding was the very first product I ever tried. I loved it and so did my hair. People would walk by and ask me what smelled so good. lol It was my hair.

Kristal @ Beautifully Curled
Guest

Same here! That pudding was expensive but it gave me the best curly definition. I loved how it smelled.

Lucy
Guest
Lucy

Very sad to hear about her passing. I would love to watch the video tribute in the link you posted but it requires a password. Can you post the password please?

Orange
Guest
Orange

RIP

Miss Mo
Guest
Miss Mo

OMG!!! So sad to hear of her passing. Never tried their products but read about her and her sis Miko. Impressive duo. I think I’ll buy one of their products now just to honor her.

#RIPBeautiful 🙁

jjac401
Guest
jjac401

I want to express my condolences to the family for their loss. I lost a son because of depression. May Titi Rest In Peace.

april Guscott
Guest
april Guscott

I’m very sorry for their loss, and I wish that she rests in peace and extend my deepest condolences to the family.

Belle
Guest
Belle

This is so sad. I did not know her but I am filled with so many emotions right now. Sending out prayer for her, may her soul rest in eternal peace. Sending out prayers for her family, friends and loved one, may they find comfort and peace during this sad time. Thank you Titi for your contributions to this world, you have achieved wonders in your short life.

TeaJae
Guest
TeaJae

heartbroken for the family grave loss to the entire hair care industry and I cannot think of how the family is coping all my love. RIP Beautiful Titi???

kia
Guest
kia

Oh wow. RIP. Condolences to the family.

Lola
Guest
Lola

My words exactly. Whoa. My condolences.

kia
Guest
kia

Discussing depression or any other mental illness in the ack community is taboo. It’s very unfortunate.

Likewaterforchoc
Guest
Likewaterforchoc

Unfortunate, but true. Somehow within our community admitting to depression is tantamount to admitting to defeat or “letting the devil get you down.” Depression along with mental illness in our community is too often treated as something that is all in our heads. Often we frown on medication and shun the idea of therapy and look down on those who use the idea as not being strong enough to overcome. This often leads to folks feeling all alone to “deal” because no one understands.
There has been so much loss on the natural hair community over this past year. Too sad.

bglhreader
Guest
bglhreader

What’s sad is that even in this post‐ where there could have been a great opportunity to talk about mental illness and depression amongst black women, BGLH comments, “Because this is a sensitive subject matter and there are friends, family, and fans openly grieving the loss of Titi Branch, we ask that readers refrain from negative, controversial, or inflammatory comments.” as if mentioning her cause of death is shameful or controversial. Lost opportunity to potentially make a difference, BGLH. Disappointed. And, saddened, too.

kia
Guest
kia

Great observation, sis. You’re right. This was the perfect moment to reach out to readers who are going through things. Maybe they’ll read this and post links where people can get help.

Evelyn
Guest

My heart sank when I read this post. It really hits home because we are so close in age. Sending prayers and thoughts to the family.

cryssi
Guest
cryssi

My heart, prayers and we’ll wishes go out to the family. Such a tragedy

MzMabley
Guest
MzMabley

Wow! So sorry to hear this sad news. Sharp, intelligent woman…gone too soon. Condolences to the family. May Titi rest in peace.

Aijalon Halema Leilani
Guest
Aijalon Halema Leilani

WOW! Miss Jessie’s was the 1st product line that inspired me to want to wear my hair out & curly & to feel good about my hair!

R.I.P & Thank you for your contribution to curly confidence!!!!!

Lola
Guest
Lola

Love the Curly pudding! Sorely missed.

eljjai
Guest
eljjai

Oh no, she was so young and so accomplished. Such a shame. Such a terrible shame. She still had so much to give to the world.

herlucidsky
Guest

This is one of the reasons why the saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” is so important. You just never know what people are going through under the surface. Nothing is ever what it seems. May you rest in peace Titi. I am so saddened by this. My condolences to the family.

Alyx Sporski
Guest
Alyx Sporski

I’m very sorry for thier loss, maybe this Bible hope will offer some comfort, The Bible says at Ecclesiates 9:5 “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” So we see that when we die we just cease to exist. Jehovah God told Adam what happens when we die at Genesis 3:19 when he said “Dust you are and to dust you will return.” So the same happens to us when we die. But death is not necessarily the end of everything, the Bible often refers to death… Read more »

Calicurli
Guest
Calicurli

Hi, Sister.

This is a very encouraging comment.

HCW

Tiff
Guest
Tiff

nooo. this would make aa suicidal person think its okay to commit suicide..the scriptures you mention are not the only scriptures about death in fact its many that talks about burning torment for the unbeliever. jesus came to save us from our sins because he knows their is a hell…the spiritual gehenna deeper than you think… jesus aka yeshua warns us abnout the second death …which is the lake of fire. why you think Satan wants us to die with him..cause he knows him and hs angelsaka demons that followed him are doomed to be in the torment of the… Read more »

Alyx Sporski
Guest
Alyx Sporski

Notice what Jeremiah 7:31 says God said: “They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, in order to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart.” If you noticed God said that it was against his wishes that people were burning their children, so since we read at Numbers 23:19 “God is not a mere man who tells lies,Nor a son of man who changes his mind.” He still feels the same way… Read more »

Keisha
Guest
Keisha

This makes me so sad. I stopped using Miss Jessie products a few years ago, but I was among their early followers and devoted customers. No one can deny they were a force to be reckoned with in bringing natural hair marketability to the forefront! Titi was always so pretty to me. You never know what people are going through, which is why we should be more mindful of the words we use and the interactions we have with others.

TheCheshire
Guest
TheCheshire

No! She was in my hair when I went to her salon! She was so kind and helpful to me, helped me start on my curly journey…RIP TITI thank you so much for all youve done for curlies like me! 🙁

Kim
Guest
Kim

BGLH, It’s customary for articles involving a possible suicide, to publish the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline # 1–800-273‑8255 at the end of the article. You never know who might be going through a rough time and needs some help.

Sophie
Guest
Sophie

This is really sad. It’s such a pity for anyone to have to leave the world so soon, but it is really heartbreaking that she was in such mental pain. I agree with a poster below that you should add the number to the suicide hotline in your post because someone here might be in a position to use that (they do get a lot of calls). RIP Titi. We really need to open up the discussion about depression, NOW. The stigma is crippling.

PrincessBLARITY
Guest
PrincessBLARITY

Thats so very tragic to hear.She died too soon.God bless their family and their loss 🙁

Cookie Cookie
Guest
Cookie Cookie

I had the pleasure of meeting both sisters. Both of them generate warmth and positive energy just with their smiles. I had been using their products long before natural styles came back to the future and will never use any other products. Titi is continuing her journey, and I share my strength with Miko because Titi will forever be in her thoughts and standing behind her to continue the DREAM.

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